Alcides Escobar may soon be wearing gold
Okay, okay. We get it. We know The Royals are offensively awful. We know the relievers aren’t nearly as solid as they were last year. We’ve all heard it…a lot…blah, blah, blah.
We know Mike Moustakas is batting .156 while leading the team with 4 home runs. That Billy Butler and his 106 at bats have produced 4 doubles and one home run. And let’s not forget Bruce Chen who can’t pitch into the 5th inning! Really, we get it!
We also understand that the calendar just rolled into May and The Royals have only played 28 games out of 162. With all of the negative loud-mouthed nay-saying and disparaging articles going around the talk shows and the internet the past few weeks about the start of The Royals 2014 season, let’s take a collective breath and shine a light on a very positive thing going on seemingly every night The Royals take the field: Alcides Escobar’s 2014 gold glove campaign.
Starting in all 28 games this young season, Escobar has already made several plays that would make Ozzie Smith blush. With a fielding percentage of .981 this year, Escobar is making the area between second and third an incredibly difficult and unwise place to hit the ball. He’s even making the foul territory off of third a bad place to put a foul ball. In one play alone, he sprinted at least 125 feet and slid almost as far to catch a pop up off of Jason Giambi’s bat.
And yet, like all great shortstops, he’s making it look absurdly easy. This year, he has 33 put outs, 72 assists, and started 8 double plays while committing only 2 errors. Admittedly, last year’s gold glove winner J.J. Hardy has yet to commit an error. But it’s not all defence with Alcides; he’s hitting a respectable .277 with 8 doubles, 10 RBI and a home run. His counterpart in Baltimore is batting .254 with 3 doubles and zero homers.
Though the ultimate factor for the gold glove may come down to errors committed, Escobar seems to have his sights set on proving to the rest of MLB that he is one of the toughest and most entertaining shortstops in all of the majors.
So the next time Butler hits into a double play (and he will) or Maxwell swings at 3 straight pitches out of the strike zone (hopefully he won’t) and everyone in the media is complaining about this or that, remember that when it’s all said and done, The Kansas City Royals may have a legitimate shot at adding a 4th gold glove winner in 2014 along with Perez, Hosmer and Gordon.
While going to the playoffs in 2014 is paramount and much more important than an individual achievement, this may be some consolation next winter.